There are many fitness expectations of active duty soldiers. Whether they are man or woman, there are specific fitness standards put into place to ensure strong, healthy individuals.
A soldier has to be fit, has to be healthy, and has to be strong—mentally and physically. They are trained to fight and need to have high endurance and stamina, and the strength to do their jobs. According to military.com the soldier is a combination of an “endurance athlete and a gymnast”.
They are, most commonly in basic training and AIT, tested in fitness with bursts of high intensity physical activity such as when doing push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups. Aerobic activity requiring high endurance is also included; some physical activities include ruck marches (miles!), swimming, running, etc. Needless to say, the Army soldier should be in top physical condition to fit these requirements, or even excel.
Based on this, one needs to keep themselves fit and performing at top level. I am giving a list of the top 5 workout programs for Army soldiers that I have found. Because of the demand on stamina, endurance, strength and agility, I am including workout programs that focus on these 4 aspects, among others. There are more resources out there, and the workout has to be right for the person.
1. TRX Suspension Training- This TRX (Total-body Resistance eXercise) system was developed by former Navy SEAL squadron commander Randy Henrick. He wanted something that would offer a way for active duty soldiers to maintain a peak physical condition when deployed in remote areas around the world. This started as parachute materials draped over trees, beams, tanks, etc. and used to work all areas of the body where physical fitness resources were not available. This system can be used to work upper body strength, core muscles, and lower body strength. This is a resistance type of training that can be adjusted from 5% to 100% of body weight. When utilized properly, this workout program can deliver strength, core stability, and flexibility in a program fitted to the user.
2. P90X- Yes, I went there. There is a lot to learn about body discipline (as well as mental) from Tony Horton’s extreme fitness program. According to a forum discussion on TeamBeachBody.com a contributor had this to say about P90X in the military: “Much can be learned by the US military about P90X. The core strength improvements “WILL” reduce training injuries especially the lower back injuries that are common from rucking. The other is Time Management, saving at least an hour a day off of the traditional military fitness routine. P90X training philosophy will save the military millions of dollars in injury prevention and additional millions of dollars in time that is saved just in man hours to reach the same level of fitness. P90X slightly modified to include running and rucking specific exercises would totally revolutionize American military fitness.” (teambeachbody.com) P90X, anyone?
3. Calisthenics VS the Gym- Calisthenics is the use of your own body weight to achieve top physical fitness. You don’t need all the equipment, just your body. Strength will come from being able to control and utilize just body weight. A combination of calisthenics with strength training can be a great addition to any workout, and it can be used in addition to other workout programs and training for Army soldiers.
4. Running, Swimming, Pull-ups, Sit-ups- When at basic or AIT, a lot of attention is given to endurance…A LOT! Running and running long distances, swimming, a lot of pull-ups and sit-ups, ruck marches…LOTS of endurance. These are great activities anyway (though I personally would never elect to go on my own ruck march) and the harder you train the more fit and strong you will become; endurance will harden as well. Plus, these endurance training exercises are natural (calisthenics, remember?) and can be done anywhere…well, with the exception of swimming if there’s no water.
5. Breathing- Yes, breathing is a workout. Any effective workout for any person has to be accompanied by proper breathing. Proper breathing will open the lungs and strengthen the diaphragm. Circulation and respiratory functions improve, resulting in higher and longer performance and endurance. And the best part? Breathing exercises can be performed anywhere.
Though my #5 wasn’t an actual “..do 10 reps” blah blah type of workout program, proper breathing is very important! Just as important as keeping your diet balanced and healthy and full of the nutrients that the body will need to maintain and repair lean muscle. If there are any more effective workout programs fit for Army soldiers, please feel free to include them.
About the Author: Lauren is a stay at home mom currently working from home as a freelance writer. She is certified in Education with a background in education, writing, and tutoring to help students develop their educational skills. She comes from a military family and writes articles about education, military life, and personal development.